Anniversary, One Of Many

It's July 28th, fifteen years ago, and we meet on a beach in Connecticut. Oh, we are still so far then from where we are now—married, a mortgage, nervous plans for that second bedroom—and it's summer in suburbia, and I'm just a bored teenager who thinks nothing interesting is ever going to happen to me, and then you ride in on your bike, and it's like everything clicks on.

After that, there's a line straight down the middle of my life: a before and an after. Part A and part B. Without you, without you, without you—then with you.


I make a vet appointment for the cat. You're supposed to take him in, but you forget to take him in, so I call the vet and I apologize.

"I'm so sorry,"  I say. "My husband was supposed to bring him in, and he forgot."

I make a noise of irritation in the back of my throat, an ugly sound, like a motor starting. "I guess I'll have to do it now." 

In this moment I hear myself, and I sound like an angry sitcom woman berating her hapless husband and I think how did I get like this? How did I get so old and obvious? and I take a deep breath and think back to you on the beach, the first time I saw you, the hope and the promise. I think of a time when you weren't the idiot who forgot to take the cat to the vet after I'd reminded you a million times, but to when you were still the future, the future, the future, all unknown and shiny and new. 


I have never been able to describe, accurately, how it felt to meet you. This is frustrating for me; I make my living describing things accurately. But here is the thing: I just knew

"Love at first sight?" people ask teasingly, when you tell them something like that. 

"Not love at first sight," I say, nose wrinkled with the effort of trying to explain. "Feeling at first sight. Just a feeling." 


Eleven days before I saw you for the first time, a TWA flight exploded into the ocean near New York. Pieces of debris washed up on the beach where we met, and they told us on the news not to swim there for a while, that the Long Island Sound might be contaminated, or more contaminated than usual. 

I'd forgotten that: a major plane crash, a national tragedy. How could I have forgotten that? It was swallowed up by the memory of meeting you. 


This is just a quiet observation about the passage of time. There is no need for sappiness, for ruminations on love or fate or intuition, or any of that. This is just a date, July 28th, that I carry with me in the compartment that contains all of our other dates, all those other notches marking the steady accumulation of time.

But here's something. When we get to this day next year, I will have known you for exactly half my life. I will have known you, by then, for as long as I haven't known you, the date balancing there in the middle like the pivot on a seesaw. And after that, in the years that follow, we'll have passed something, I think. A threshold. A new frontier.

Jul 28, 2011

aw. a new frontier. makes it sound like you're laura ingalls wilder all up in star trek. :)

loved this post and the snippets of memories!

Jul 28, 2011

Happy anniversary!

Jul 28, 2011

Awesome. Can't wait to see what's ahead for you in the great beyond.

Jul 28, 2011

Love this. Beautifully put. And thanks for the gentle reminder to go a little easier on my better half as well.

Jul 28, 2011

So beautiful. Sorry I don't have anything more profound, just wanted to say that this was beautiful. Here's to all the other fractions smaller than half. (Does that make sense?)

Jul 28, 2011


Jul 28, 2011

Love this - beautifully written

Jul 28, 2011


Jul 28, 2011

Yes, the feeling.
Our anniversary was Monday. It was the 1 year. But.
We met when we were 7 years old. We 'went out' in middle school, then didn't talk to each other for several years. But.
When we were 17, there was.. yes, this feeling. And we've been together ever since.

Happy anniversary! I second the "nervous plans for that second bedroom."

Jul 28, 2011

Is it bad that I thought, "Oh! How nice, they're redecorating the guest room. Can't wait for the paint-choosing contest/photos!"

Then I read Ellyn's comment and smacked myself on the forehead.

Here's to the two of you! Cheers.

Jul 28, 2011

THIS!!! Is beautifully written!

Jul 28, 2011

Oh Holly. These posts are just my favorite.

Jul 28, 2011

Tomorrow is my 11th wedding anniversary and the nineteenth year that my husband and I have been together, we met in our nineteenth year. We nervously became parents six years ago an then managed to fill a third bedroom four years ago. I wonder what the next 19 years will bring...
Happy Anniversary!


You give me chills. This was lovely and real and everything that I like about reading your site.

Jul 28, 2011


I had feeling at first sight with my husband too. I couldn't have told you what I knew, but I know *something* the first time I saw him, before we ever spoke. And I go back to that feeling, too, when I need a little refresher. :)

Jul 28, 2011

It is hard to describe the "feeling," isn't it? No sappiness, to violin strings, just-- real love. Grand and normal at the same time. Thanks for trying to put that into words. And congratulations to you and your darling on 15 years!

Jul 28, 2011

"feeling at first sight" is perfect. For those that didn't get to experience that feeling, it is really hard to quantify or explain - but, yes, beautifully said.

Jul 28, 2011

I clicked on your random flashbacks button today and read your description from exactly four years ago of how you met - strange that it came up today!

This was such a lovely post. I also knew my now-husband was the one - not love at first sight, just a feeling. And as others have said, thank you for the reminder to remember that feeling when the everyday gets in the way sometimes.

Pretzel Thief
Jul 28, 2011

So lovely. There's such a warmth and beauty to your writing, Holly!

Jul 28, 2011

Oh, I love this. I love it, I love it, I love it. I read it on the iPad while on the treadmill and I was doing so well and being very on pace and then I read this and I got all weepy and my throat started closing up and I had to slow down to a 2.

In other words, lovely post.

I have always been so...jealous is not the right word but maybe admiring? of the fact that you two met so young and you have had so much time together and you have basically seen each other turn into respectable adults. That's something, right there. It is definitely worth celebrating, noting and popping some champagne on a Thursday for.

Jul 28, 2011

One of many...facets of Holly the Writer :-)

I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favorite, but this reminiscent mode of yours is surely right up there.

"A feeling at first sight" That line alone deserves immortality!

Sensibly Sassy
Jul 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!!
Your writing is so lovely, I don't think I have said that in a while. I always look forward to your posts :)

Jul 28, 2011

I love this post, lovely writing- so evocative. When you tied in the air crash I suddenly remembered where I was that summer- thanks for reminding me of my 17th summer.

Jul 28, 2011

Today, the 28th, is my birthday...(had to check NBB as the last part of my day, hoping you'd post). And little did I know you'd write something so beautiful about something so magical that happened on the same anniversary date as my birth. I feel lucky somehow, and hopeful that "feeling" will happen to me someday too!

Happy Anniversary

Jul 29, 2011

Happy anniversary. I wish you long and happy lives together.

Jul 29, 2011

Awwww! I could read your writing all day long....

Kate (and Ben)
Jul 29, 2011

Yes. A feeling. Not love...but a gravitational pull saying, "Here you go. Home."

Amy --- Just A Titch
Jul 29, 2011

Oh Holly, this is just so gorgeous. It made me tear up. Happy for you, that you've found that person. Happy Anniversary, and here's to what's next.

Jul 29, 2011

Awwwww so lovely. You're very lucky to have found each other. Happy Anniversary guys, and to many, many more.

Jul 29, 2011

This is so lovely. Happy Anniversary of meeting! I know that pull as well, and you put it perfectly.

Jul 29, 2011

Beautiful. And thank you. Thank you for reminding me not to be "that" person, which I all to easily fall into being when I'm upset or dissapointed in my significant other. thank You.

Jul 29, 2011

This is so absolutely beautiful. I love the way you describe experiences and feelings. You are a natural writer, and it can't help but show.

Also, I can so relate to that "love at first feeling" way of knowing. That's how it felt for me with my Kirk.


Jul 29, 2011

And I have an anniversary gift for you: Trader Joe's just opened in Charleston!!!

Camels & Chocolate
Jul 29, 2011

These are my absolute favorite posts that you write. They're just so perfect, there's no other word for them.

Jul 29, 2011

Really beautiful. Thank you.

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Jul 31, 2011

I will be celebrating my 9th wedding anniversary and our love has grown stronger by the day. We have been through up and downs in life and it has been an enriching experience. A wonderful piece of article.

yours truly, melissa
Jul 31, 2011

beautiful post. really, just lovely.

Jul 31, 2011

yes! feeling at first sight! that is EXACTLY what it was for me too, and i have always struggled to explain it.

you nailed it.

Aug 01, 2011

Happy anniversary to you guys! Your Sean posts are always my favorite. Cheers to the new frontier ahead.

Aug 04, 2011

What a lovely post. Love the style of short memory snippets. Happy meeting-day anniversary to you and Sean!

Aug 04, 2011

Beautiful post Holly. Oh, the feeling. I know that feeling. I wouldn't call it love at first sight either. It was more of a ... magnetic pull? Or something. I felt it when I first met my husband 10 years ago. I had no idea what it was at the time, I just thought, "Huh. That's new." Since then, people have seen the photos of us on the day we met and said, "Aw, how long were you guys dating here?" and we just laugh because we weren't. And we wouldn't start dating until over a year later. Now here we are married 5 years this year, but I still remember that feeling.

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A really touching post. Nice of you to share it with us readers. You have a beautiful story. That's why it was such an interesting read for me. Thanks again for sharing your experience with us.

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